Top 5 MLB Season Win Totals
OH YES, IT’S TIME FOR BASEBALL!!! I’m sorry, it’s just hard for me to contain my excitement. After a strenuous offseason filled with questions and grey could, we have baseball in 2022. What a season we have ahead of us, too! There looks to be a clear-cut favorite this year in the Dodgers. They now have the best player from each of the four previous MLB Champions thanks to the signing of Freddie Freeman in March, a couple weeks before Opening Day. Yet, some don’t think its as easy as seeing a strike on a 3-0 pitch.
If last year’s Braves proved anything, it’s that when any team in this league gets hot at the right time, watch out. We have plenty of teams who think they are deserving of a chance at the title this year.
The Blue Jays are looking primed to take the title of the AL East off the Red Sox and Yankees. Could the Astros’ reign on the AL West come to an end this year? What about a sneaky good team like the White Sox? Could we actually see some parody in he MLB in back-to-back years? Nobody really knows, but that’s also the beauty of the preseason. Each and every team right now thinks they have the talent to win it all. Most are delusional, but some have a real shot.
This year I looked into my top 5 favorite win totals before the season starts. Some might surprise you, but others should hopefully shine a light on what you already predict. All in all, this should be a fun year of baseball. We have plenty of young talent ushering out the old, with some veterans that want to make sure they leave a lasting stamp on the league before they’re gone. Do I think the Dodgers win it all? I really don’t know, but hopefully I know these five teams below do better or worse than some expect.
Texas Rangers Over 74.5 Games (-110)
In 2021, the AL West had four of the five teams to finish over 74.5 games, with the Rangers being the lone team under that total. With Oakland selling off all of its premier talent, the Rangers look primed to swap win totals with the A’s and hit this mark. I mean, they did add plenty of talent this offseason to ensure more production than what they received last year.
The Rangers were one of the worst hitting teams in the league last year. How bad? We are talking bottom five in runs, hits, average, OBP and slugging. The only stat the Rangers looked solid in were steals, finishing 4th in the league. Now, if Texas can take that aggressive attitude on the base paths and actually put runners on bases, we might see a pretty significant jump in all five of those categories they were awful in last year. Corey Seager and Marcus Semien look to spear head this new look Rangers offense. Then we saw them trade for one of the most underrated catchers in the league, Mitch Garver. Willie Calhoun has another year of growth under his belt, and the 29th overall prospect in baseball (according to MLB.com) Josh Jung is projected to join the roster this season. These are some major upgrades to a roster that needed it.
This team also signed Jon Gray and Martin Perez to hopefully give them some much needed quality starts, and a proven closer in Greg Holland to hopefully earn the closer role down the stretch. With all of these additions, I feel they can be 15 games better than last year. Especially with the fact that this division is looking like it can flip on its head this year.
Cleveland Guardians Under 75.5 Games (-110)
Cleveland is a team who appeared to play a little above the expectation last year. They lost their ace, Shane Beiber, for most of last year. They traded Eddie Rosario away at the trade deadline, and anyone not named Aaron Civale looked extremely suspect last year. Yet, this team still finished the year with 80 wins. That should just prove to the general public that Terry Francona is a quality manger despite his checkered past.
However, this team did outperform a lot of their expected stats. Starting with Zach Plesac. Plesac uses a fastball heavy pitch mix with a changeup that has swing and miss potential. However, this fast ball was hit extremely often and hard.
Opponents averaged .326 against his fastball and a slugging of .626. He also only recorded two quality starts over the last two months of the season, giving us more of a reason to doubt what we saw during the pandemic season. So if Plesac comes back to earth even more, that’s only going to put more pressure on Beiber to return to ace form. Shane is coming into this season with shoulder issues, though. Pair that with a somewhat checkered past of IL stints and it’s almost automatic. Then when you look at the starting lineup, they are one José Ramírez injury away from being the worst lineup in baseball. Myles Straw, Bobby Bradley and Ahmed Rosario have some prospect pedigree to hold onto, but none of them have lived up to the hype just yet.
Overall, I don’t like Cleveland for all the same reasons I like Texas. Cleveland will compete because they have a quality manager, but baseball is a long season. I think Cleveland is asking a lot out of a select few players. Their division seems to be more competitive from top to bottom, too. I think this team will compete at some points this year, but 75.5 just seems to be a couple games too much for my liking.
New York Mets Under 91.5 Games (-110)
This may seem a little contrarian to some but I think the Mets might face some more trouble this season than a lot of people expect. Now we can’t deny, they have arguably the best 1-2 punch at starting pitcher in baseball. The addition of Max Scherzer will hopefully allow deGrom to relax this year and maybe even finish the year healthy. Chris Bassett has seen his game take a huge leap forward over the last two seasons. Carlos Carrasco is a lot of experts’ pick for Comeback Player of the Year. The rotation has all the makings of being the best in baseball. Pending everyone can stay healthy that is.
Yes, Max is one of the best pitchers in baseball, but last year was his first 30-start season since 2018. The neck issues aren’t going away and he will be 37 years of age this season. deGrom has looked like the best pitcher baseball has ever seen at times, but he’s unable to maintain his health throughout an entire season. He has only been able to accumulate 27 total starts for the Mets over the last two seasons. His injury history is littered with forearm issues, oblique, neck, back – the list goes on.
We all know what Carlos has been through, and it just came out that he pitched with loose bodies in his elbow last year. For all of the potential this starting rotation has, we also have to be real with ourselves. Injuries are a part of baseball. Guys are going to miss time and that’s going to force others to step up. Yet, the Mets lack starting pitching depth. I look for them to make moves during the season, but that will only happen if losses pile up. Lindor will need to be better than what he gave them last year, period. Pete Alonso saw his average jump back up to .260 and he will need to maintain that. They gave Eduardo Escobar the bag this offseason and Robinson Cano looks to be the lead dog in the race for DH.
This lineup should finish somewhere in the top 10 in the league, otherwise Pete regresses back. Cano is a shell of himself, Lindor isn’t what the Mets paid for, and they fall more towards the middle of the pack.
This Mets team has all the talent in the world. I honestly believe that if they click at the end of the season, they can be a great bet to win it all. But we can’t forget they play in the most difficult division in baseball. The Phillies made plenty of moves this offseason to win a few more games than last year. The 2021 World Series Champion Braves aren’t just going to mail in the regular season either, as they managed to bring back back much of key components to their winning ways. The Miami Marlins rotation is one of the most promising in baseball. Juan Soto and the Nationals are going to win games. To me, this line reflects everything going right for the Mets. When is the last time we heard everything fell right for the Mets?! Give me the under and we’ll see where they stand midseason for some value to win it all.
Seattle Mariners Over 83.5 Games (+100)
This was a pick I was tossing and turning over. The Mariners are a team that everyone thought over achieved mightily last year. Heading into 2021, Vegas had their total at 72.5. The 90 wins they accumulated last year seemed too good to be true, or maybe was a sign of what is to come. The organization seems to believe in themselves. They added last years CY Young winner in Robby Ray, and two solid bats from the Reds in Eugenio Suárez and Jesse Winker. They also just happen to have the best prospect in Julio Rodriquez, who looks primed to skip Triple-A baseball in hopes of making the Opening Day roster. So why should anyone feel hesitation? Well for starters, can Ray reproduce what he gave us last year? Robby Ray has also possessed swing and miss stuff, struggling with location at times. Maybe Toronto fixed what little thing mechanically was broken? If that was true, why didn’t they sign him? Toronto is competing to win a title and needs starting pitching. The Mariners will need to address Winker’s numbers against left handed pitchers. The dude averaged a .176 batting average last year and an OPS of .572 against lefties.
There is one name I haven’t mentioned that could really help this team hit their mark. Jared Kelenic was arguably the beast prospect in baseball last year. He has the power/speed combo this lineup needs. Sadly, his numbers aren’t all that good but we have to remember he had an unconventional rise to the majors. He lost a whole season of at bats due to covid. He still has all the raw intangibles to live up to the hype. Now after seeing major-league pitching, I expect the talent to elevate him a little bit.
This Mariners’ team still has to prove itself. That’s evident by the fact that they are projected to have a worse season than last year, despite adding talent. The division is looking to be a little more difficult with Texas showcasing as a team that can compete. Even with that said, I think the Mariners have all the potential to actually win the AL West. They also have all the makings of being more towards that 74.5 number that was projected last year. There is reason to doubt Seattle, but this franchise is ready to end the longest playoff drought currently in the MLB. This will be a tight bet, but I think the Mariners win 85-87 games, possibly 92 and win the division.
Pittsburgh Pirates Under 64.5 (-100)
Now this one stings a little bit. As a Pirates fan, I want nothing more than to see my hometown squad produce. The city craves a winning baseball team. However, this team has a stigma around the city and around the league for being more of a “farm team” than anything else. They develop talent and then trade away that talent for what seems like pennies and move on. Yet, this year, people think this team can actually surprise the nation, and maybe win a few more games than expected.
The consensus is down on the Pirates. Especially after the Pirates couldn’t come to an arbitration agreement with their best player, Bryan Reynolds. Now we have news that Hayes is dealing with a wrist issue and will be down for at least a couple weeks to start the season. Not too mention the team wants to have another year of control for Oneil Cruz, so that means he didn’t make the Opening Day roster. Mitch Keller has looked great this spring, even touching triple digits on the gun. Yet, we have heard Keller look great before and he lets us down with a bad first inning, guaranteed.
The Pirates are an organizational dumpster fire. They are rebuilding a whole new roster, with a whole new coaching staff, alongside an owner that refuses to spend money. This team traded away its best player from last year, and are rumored to do the same this year with Reynolds. The roster looks awful, the bullpen is a mess, and we’re all supposed to believe that this team will be better than last year? How? I know the total seems low. I know the potential is there for Cruz, Hayes and Reynolds. But trust me. Trust a ‘Yinzer’ when I say – This team doesn’t have it. Maybe over the next couple years we will have preseason talks about this team surprising the league. This year however, won’t be it.